Age of the Apocalypse
The Fight for Freedom
With the undead lords concentrating on their infighting and Calix Sabinus withdrawing into the lofty seclusion of imperial rule, the time has come for mortals to reassert themselves over the unnatural rule of the damned. Generations after the Cataclysm, the children of the new age suffer neither from nightmares of those fateful years nor the memory of things lost. They dream of what might be and chafe under the rule of the undead—not content to be safe, they crave freedom. With rebellions on the rise, the peoples of Abaddon trade stories of the exalted and other heroes around their night fires to inspire and embolden each other. Many seek the ruins of the past to find secrets of their people and others, but the most valuable lore and treasures are controlled by undead aristocrats. They are obstacles to the living reclaiming their rightful place as masters of their own destiny, and they must be toppled.
And in that light, new power has arisen. At the horizon – always at the horizon – orange light, like that of fire, but on an unimaginable scale, burns. Otherworldly creatures of every description pour forth, sometimes in waves, other times as individuals, but often enough that their like is known to be feared. Small blessing, then, that they generally care little for whether the flesh they rend is alive or undead.
The Osirian Uprising
Ever since the Cataclysm, the osirians have been a thorn in the side of the undead lords and still hold some of the few free cities remaining. This has not prevented a great many of them falling to the chains of slavers or to the executioner’s axe. Their vaults have been invaded and their people dragged out, killed, or captured on the whim of an undead lord. The osirians have, however, known freedom. More so than any other people, they despise the whips and bonds of their undead overseers, a hate which has spilled out as a direct uprising against the ghost lord Kalbna. While he has managed to keep this affair largely secret, an army of former slaves, osirians, and others has taken several settlements in his domain. Their numbers swell with every passing week, readying themselves to take on the lord himself.
For the first time in generations, a choice few have seen the light of Adaddon’s sun pierce the clouds that blanket the sky. Here and there, now and then, a shaft of light strikes through the darkness, almost blinding in its intensity before the clouds snuff it out once more. Even so, this brief and blinding glimpse of radiance is enough to reignite feelings of hope in people who had all but given up—and strike fear into the cold hearts of those undead vulnerable to it.
Footsteps of Zebadiah
Though he is barred from Calix Sabinus’ lands, Zebadiah prowls the edge of his binding like a tiger in a cage. Wandering the ashen deserts, he meets with bandits, adventurers, refugees, and wanderers in a variety of guises to hear news and dispense wisdom and aid where he can. His words and influence still breach the border, even if he does not, stirring up the lich’s empire with every utterance.
Disunity of Death
Calix Sabinus’ alliance is falling apart at the seams. The undead lords cannot keep their ambitions or their mutual hatred under wraps for long, and their squabbles and skirmishes
are rapidly becoming assassinations and battles. They form their own alliances outside of Sabinus’ hierarchy, and some factions even risk spreading mortal and undead dissent against their emperor’s rule—a house divided against itself. Some of the undead lords may even sympathize with the mortal rebels or, at least, are willing to ally with the rebels for some short-term gain against their rivals.
The spirits released during the Cataclysm were scared, confused, and barely sentient. An outpouring of pain and suffering, they lashed out at anything that came close and—being little more than necromantic energy—animated the dead with abandon. The character of the dead is now different, though. Those who die today hold hatred for the lords in their minds and cries of freedom on their lips. The ghosts of today are the spirits of vengeance, no allies to the undead lords or to Calix Sabinus. Even the dead themselves are turning against the powers that be.
Day-to-day life has become torment. Sooner or later, everyone gives in to temptation or gets tired of struggling. Strangers cannot be trusted, as they may have betrayed their fellow mortals for the worthless promise that they will survive the conquest of Abaddon. For that matter, those strangers could be demons or devils in disguise. Victories are measured in single lives saved from invading devils, and in seeing another sun rise.